Child labour occurs in a wide range of workplaces, such as factories, in farming, workshops and at home. It robs children of their childhood, denies them the chance of schooling, and destroys any chance of a bright future.
Traidcraft Exchange has collaborated with HomeWorkers Worldwide (HWW) and major retailers including H&M, to produce the toolkit, Preventing Child Labour in Home-Based Crafts Production - A Practical Toolkit for Businesses.
It provides a starting point for businesses seeking to tackle potential issues of child labour, as well as practical examples of what other companies have found to be successful.
The toolkit focuses on the areas which fall most directly within the companies’ sphere of responsibility, and highlights areas where companies can exert influence. It covers underlying principles, practical steps which companies can take, and appendices containing model policies and simple practical tools.
Maveen Pereira from Traidcraft Exchange commented: “After discussions with leading international brands, the message to us was very strong. Many want to ensure that child labour plays no part in their supply chains, but there was a lack of guidance on measures they can take to assure that it isn’t taking place in home-based production in their supply-chains. It was in response to these discussions that we produced this toolkit.
“Supply chains can be very complex, so it’s important that companies, particularly retailers, ensure that no-one is being exploited in their production process. Home-based work may seem difficult to monitor, but many companies have taken great strides in this area. Our toolkit will help companies prevent child labour amongst homeworkers by bringing together the best practice and learning from industry leaders.
"We don’t believe that banning homeworking is the answer. If families lose their work, it impoverishes them further and children may find themselves pushed towards even worse forms of child labour.”
Children are often forced into labour because their parents’ earnings are inadequate and insecure. Companies can take steps to ensure children do not need to work through raising wages, finding ways to make the work more regular, and ensuring that homeworkers receive some form of social security coverage. Where parents are able to earn enough money to support their families, they are far more likely to keep their children out of work and in education. The toolkit gives positive examples of best practice in this area.